New Term Begins

Parliament returned from summer recess this week and the first two days of debate were focussed on the Scottish Government’s legislative programme.

The legislative programme is the opportunity for the Government of the day to set out the priorities they want to pursue over the following Parliamentary term.

For the SNP, who won a majority at last year’s Scottish elections, this should have been a chance to set out a bold programme to improve life chances, create jobs and promote economic growth. Unfortunately, what we got instead was a series of re-announcements on issues we’ve heard before.

The childcare support announced on Tuesday was first promised in 2007 and could be implemented with a stroke of a pen but instead has been put into a bill which will delay it by another two years when struggling families need them now.

The procurement bill is too little too late – the largest infrastructure project in a generation, the replacement Forth crossing, has tendered work to China, Poland and Spain while our own construction sector remains in peril.

At every turn Alex Salmond highlights his perceived powerlessness in the face of Westminster so it is baffling that he seems unable or unwilling to utilise the considerable power at his Government’s disposal to re-shape Scotland for the better.